To Judge Or Not To Judge

Matt 7:1-6
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you wil…l see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces…”

Many use Matt 7:1 as a blanket prohibition of all judgment completely ignoring the whole counsel of the Word of God concerning this very important issue. Judging and discernment is so important for without, the church suffers much in many ways and the most dreadful is having agents of the enemy as her leaders and false teaching prevails.

What the Word of God warned here is about unrighteous judgment such as fault finding. In Matt 7:6, Jesus even told us to judge those who are violent towards the gospel so surely Matt 7:1 cannot be a blanket prohibition. Our Lord clearly stated in John 7:24 that we do not judge by appearances but judge with righteous judgment.
Take a look at the whole counsel of the Word of God and decide whether we want to be fully obedient to the Word of God or choose what we are comfortable with.

We do not judge :
1. Appearances or motives. Jn 7:24; Jas 2:1-4
2. Matters of conscience. Rom 14:1-5.
3. Service of another brother. 1 Cor 4:1-5.
4. In speaking evil of another brother. Jas 4:11-12.

But we should judge :
1. False teaching and error in teaching. Matt 7:15-20; 1 Cor 14:29; 1 Jn 4:1.
2. Serious sins in the church. Matt 18:17; 1 Cor 5:9-13.
3. Disputes in the church. 1 Cor 6:1-8.
4. Qualification of elders and deacons. 1 Tim 3:1-13.
5. In admonishing the idle and slothful; and discern and help the faint-hearted and the weak. 1 Thess 5:14.
6. In not being unequally yoked with unbelievers. 2 Cor 6:14.

Any one walking in the will of God need not be bothered by judging because he or she knows his conscience is clear. Only those who are in error or sin usually are the ones who cry foul of judging, and it is so comical that they also commit the very same act of judging which they denounce by judging the motive of those who judged.

Be Complete Imitators of Christ

We are called to be witnesses for Christ. When we follow His Manifesto to share the gospel, give sight to the blind, visit the imprisoned and relieve the oppressed (Luke 4:18), it is possible that we may perform all these works without really representing Christ. God wants obedience and mercy out of our hearts and not outward sacrifice. It involves more than what we do and say – it requires inner transformation by His Spirit to be more like Him. In that way, we will truly represent Him if we become more like Him.

From the gospels, we know that Christ our Lord had humility, compassion and self control showing He is Love; and confidence, objectivity and assertiveness showing He is Just.

Many of us fail to represent Him completely in love and justice. Love and Justice are both God’s attributes which God desires we know Him well. (Jer 9:23-24).

He came lowly to demonstrate that God gives grace to the humble. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Any teaching that exalts the human spirit is definitely wrong which is at the core of the cheap grace theology. And it is no wonder that the false teachers are often touted as excellent motivational speakers. The proud, the greedy and the idolaters simply love this cheap grace message that they can receive grace without repentance. That they can be born again without being born again. The story of Zaachaeus showed us how we can truly receive grace and being born again. Zaachaeus was a hated tax collector. Money was his idol and he was willing to be hated just to worship this idol. He could very well be a pious Jew having good relations with the religious authorities. But when he came to Jesus, he came not with pride but with humility though he was the chief tax collector. The chief of them all. And when Jesus accepted him, he knew he had to get rid of his idolatry. Though he was financially rich, he was spiritually bankrupt. He went from an oppressor of the poor to be a champion of justice when he decided to make restitution of what he had done before and more. He went from hoarding wealth unscrupulously at the expense of everyone including the poor to the opposite of helping them with his wealth unselfishly. That is repentance before the throne of Grace.

He had full Self-control whenever He was confronted on hard questions by those who intended to trap Him into saying something wrong.

He was also very Confident and Objective as to His purpose in life. He resolved to glorify and obey God to the last detail of going to the Cross, even if it meant something He did not wish to go through.

When He saw the Temple of God being a house of prayer being turned into a den of robbers, He was upset and drove away the merchants because He was Assertive that the sanctity of God’s Temple, God’s Word, God’s Gospel or anything of God must not be brought down to such a shallow level of fulfilling human desire.

Again, any teaching that bring the sanctity of the Cross and Gospel to such shallowness as things pandering to human desires is so absurd and nonsensical. Our intellect can surely discern it but sadly our inner desires completely blind us. That is why so often we read of highly intelligent people doing foolish acts in the news.

Trevor Wax in Christianity Today explained, “…He (God) is angry because he is love. He looks at the world and sees the trafficking of innocent children, the destructive use of drugs, the genocidal atrocities in Africa, the terrorist attacks that keep people in perpetual fear, and he—out of love for the creation that reflects him as Creator—is rightfully and gloriously angry. The god who is truly scary is not the wrathful God of the Bible, but the god who closes his eyes to the evil of this world, shrugs his shoulders, and ignores it in the name of “love.” What kind of love is this? A god who is never angered at sin and who lets evil go by unpunished is not worthy of worship. The problem isn’t that the judgment-less god is too loving; it’s that he is not loving enough…”

Let’s be imitators of Christ all the way and not half the way. May His Spirit regenerates us and gives us wisdom to truly represent Him. Amen.

God’s Sovereignty and Our Human Responsibility

So, therefore, without violating the nature of created realities, or reducing man’s activity to robot level, God still “works all things according to the counsel of His will”…But surely in that case what we think of as our free will is illusory and unreal ? That depends on what you mean. It is certainly illusory to think that our wills are only free if they operate apart from God. But free will in the sense of “free agency” as theologians have defined it – that is, the power of spontaneous, self determining choice referred to above – is real…How God sustains it and overrules it without overriding it is His secret, but that He does so is certain. – JI Packer, Affirming the Apostles’ Creed.

Gal 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The first part of this verse tells of the divine sovereignty over our lives as a Christian, while the second part tells of our human responsibility in living our lives by faith in the Son of God.

Here-in is the paradox and profound mystery of our relationship with God. This paradox of divine sovereignty with an element of human responsibility runs through-out the whole Bible and men have argued over the centuries but are none the wiser.

We have argued over this same paradox in the following topics : predestination and free will; faith and works; Jesus being fully God and f ully man; and the dual authorship of the Bible.

So how do we live ?

We will live our lives acknowledging our full dependency on God; yet we are obedient and diligent in discharging our given commission making full use of the faculty of our minds.

We can easily see the danger of holding either extreme of the paradox. In the example of salvation, we will end up believing the hyper grace false gospel on one extreme or legalism on the other. The correct stand is that one is saved by faith alone and his or her faith is evidenced by works. Eph 2: 8-9 is not complete without Eph 2:10 just as in Gal 2:20 with 2 parts completing the same message.